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Townsend, Tennessee 37882
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Beautiful River in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Fishing Report 04/20/18 Great Smoky Mountains National Park and East Tennessee
Time of Readings 5:30 am Eastern Time Zone : CFS=Cubic Feet Per Second
Fishing Gauge Indicating Fishing is Good

Water Temperature Little River
Stream Flow
Rainfall 2018 YTD Knoxville Apt
Rainfall Normal YTD Knoxville Apt


48.4 Fahrenheit
2.31 Feet 332 CFS

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Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

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Welcome to the Fishing Report from Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. At 5:30 am, the temperature outside is 30.0 degrees.

Today will be sunny with a high temperature in the mid to upper 60’s, falling to the upper 30’s tonight. Tomorrow will sunny again and warmer, with the high reaching or exceeding 70 degrees, falling to the mid to upper 40’s at night. Sunday will be mostly cloudy, with a high in the upper 60’s, and a chance for showers.

This is going to be a very good fly fishing weekend in the Smoky Mountains. Today and tomorrow look good, but Sunday would be my favorite day to fish. I like those clouds and shaded water.

Little River is flowing at 332 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.31 feet on the flow gauge. Median flow for this date is 263 cfs. The water temperature is 48.4 degrees this morning. The water temperature fell all day yesterday and all night. That trend will reverse today.

I think you will do best using nymphs early today, until the water warms further. Trout are actively feeding when the water temps are near 50 degrees. You may want to switch to dry flies this afternoon. I bet fishing will be best this evening.

When the sun is falling over the mountain ridges, after a day of rising water temperatures, fishing can be great and it probably will. I would use a Parachute Adams dry fly in sizes #14 or #16. Smoky Mountain Candy is another good fly to use right now. Walter Babb came up with that pattern years ago, and it works well. I might try a Yellow Neversink Caddis in the size #16. This fly actually imitates a Yellow Sally stonefly. You may not see many or any on the water. Smokies trout love yellow.

Most any reasonable nymphs will do. I like Tellico, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear and Prince nymphs. If the trout are not taking them, pinch on another split shot to get the nymphs down deeper.

Though the water is flowing fairly high, you will still catch more trout if you blend in with the forest. Wear muted clothing. Don’t cast a shadow over the water you are fishing. Trout hate that. Shade will be harder to find today and tomorrow, especially on the larger rivers near roads. That is why I think Sunday will be the best day to fish.

Rain is very likely Monday. More rain is expected Tuesday and Wednesday, through Thursday morning.   
There will be generation breaks today at Norris and Cherokee dams. Check the TVA website for those dams from the links below. See if their schedule works for you today.

We were busy at the shop yesterday. I heard many of our out-of-state, avid anglers are here. They know, it’s time. David from Kentucky, Buddy from Alabama and Eddie from Mississippi are in town, and many from other states. They have been waiting all Winter for this. They will be catching trout. They have the Smoky Mountains “dialed in”. Spring fly fishing in these mountains comes second nature to them. Like all of us, we had to learn.

Of course, many local anglers are getting out there too.

The “river bass” (smallmouth) are fairly active. I talked to Josh Pfeiffer yesterday. He and Gary Troutman guide smallmouth anglers on the large rivers. They are catching some nice fish on streamers. Smallie fishing on those rivers will keep getting better. The same is true in the lowland rivers.

Joe told me yesterday, the white bass run is late, on his favorite rivers. He was buying some dumbbell eyes to tie Clouser Minnows. He said he is catching males, and big ones at that. He reported “no hundred fish days so far”. White bass may be spawning in other rivers now. It won’t be long, when thousands of bass with make their annual run up your favorite river. It could be any day. It could be today or tomorrow. It should have been last week.

I do not have any bear stories today. I have not seen one at our house since Wednesday.

Paula and I have been bottle feeding Jefferson, the orphaned calf every day this week. Our great neighbors, John and Vicky, who usually share the project with us, are playing in a bridge tournament, in Gatlinburg. I’ve never played bridge in my life.

I asked John last night, “How many people are playing in the tournament?”. I expected to hear, 50 or 100 people. I swear, I think he told me there were 9,000 tables! Maybe it was 9,000 people, but I think he said tables. I don’t even know how many people sit at a bridge table. Can you imagine that? Maybe I dreamed this up. The tournament is held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. John said it was amazing, how many Canadians are there.

They also play golf. I tried that game when I was in my early teens. That was probably the most frustrating thing I ever tried to do. Golf makes fly fishing seem easy. What I remember about golf is, you curse a lot because you make a bad shot. That is OK, because everyone else is cussing too.

While fly fishing, if you make a bad cast or lose a big fish, it does not matter. Maybe I have just become used to it. I have made a lot of bad casts and lost a lot of big fish. I still get a frustrated when I get my fly hung on a branch. That has happened to me, I don’t know how many thousands of times. The last one was no less annoying than the first. I’ll never get over that.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
April 20, 2018

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USGS Stream Gauges

Abrams Creek Below Cades Cove    

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Lake Information and Tailwater Generation Schedules


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